By José Reymondez
José is one of AIDemocracy’s 2010-2011 Issue Analysts. Find out more about José below or take a look at the  Student Issue Analysts.

Climate change is everyone’s problem. Natural disasters or subtle shifts in season can ruin lives. Even for those whose lives aren’t ruined, the domino effect of globalization can bring harm into their lives too. Young people should care more; they have the most chance of seeing its harmful effects. Of course some still distance themselves from the issue. Apathy and denial are easy.
 
The student is a young person with an advantage. They’re rational adults who don’t have to work yet. They can educate themselves about and then dedicate their time to climate change where perhaps others their age don’t understand, have time or care. Students have the time and knowledge to transcend self-interest and find the nobility in working on a cause that the randomness of life may not have brought in to their personal lives.
 
People in power can deny climate change, be wrong and then get away with it because they will be dead before a rise in sea level or slew of hurricanes razes their vacation homes. Students need to pressure their governments. Climate change needs to be dealt with multilaterally. States, especially the US, have the most leverage to push carbon emissions standards or encourage alternate energy sources. If the US feels the will of their youth from within, that an active voting block wants regulation, then they will be more willing to lobby the rest of the world.
 
At more of a grassroots level, young people can normalize energy-saving behavior in to their culture. Shutting off lights when they’re not being used can be made as taboo as not washing one’s hands was made when modern sanitation was introduced.
 
Most of all students can tell the truth, join the debate and tell people climate change is real, don’t let the deniers win.

José Reymóndez is a candidate for, an M.A. candidate for a degree in International Affairs with a concentration in development. He is fascinated by the political economic issues surrounding and hopefully solutions to climate change. He often wonders why something as simple as maintaining the one thing every living thing needs, the earth and its environment, somehow doesn’t seem to be going as well as it could. He is a native New Yorker and pack leader of two adopted dogs, one black and one brown.

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